NEW YORK CITY - As part of our coverage of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Annual Caribbean Week event, Travel Agent sat with members of the Anguilla Tourist Board and learned of the island’s ongoing push to U.S. markets that are not looking to break their bank accounts on an Anguilla vacation.
Of course Anguilla will always be a Caribbean destination known for its affluent tourists and five-star luxury properties. However, the Honorable Hubert B. Hughes, minister of finance, economic development, investment, commerce and tourism; the Honorable Haydn Hughes, first nominated member and parliamentary secretary; and Marie Walker, director of tourism for North America, all visited Travel Agent to carry out the message that agents can book Anguilla to their budget-conscious clients as well.
“It’s tricky marketing when you are aiming to attract the affluent traveler and also the traveler looking for an affordable vacation,” says Haydn Hughes, “but we definitely have the product to accommodate both.”
In fact, the Board just launched its Charming Escapes Collection, available at www.anguilla-vacation.com/accommodations/charming-escapes. The new collection provides information on hotels, restaurants and attractions suitable for couples and families looking to travel to Anguilla on a tighter budget than the high-end clients the island is used to hosting.
The new campaign, as well as ongoing discussions for more airlift to the island, could mean a spike in U.S. arrivals for the next few years. Also, the three members told us the island is continuing efforts to cut down the time it takes for people to get to Anguilla.
Currently, visitors to the island need to fly to St. Maarten, board either a charter boat or a ferry, travel to another area in St. Maarten and clear customs. The traffic caused by all of the boats looking to enter the country at the same time can cause up to 45-60-minute delays.
Haydn Hughes told us the Government of Anguilla is working on a plan to have tourists clear customs immediately. He would like to see tourists clear customs as soon as they arrive in St. Maarten as opposed to boarding a ferry or charter and then clearing.
“This has always been an issue for us, but if we can cut down the time it takes for people to begin enjoying their vacation, I think we will see a positive impact on tourism,” he says.